Every year, college graduates face the daunting task of finding a job and embarking on a career, and 2011 will be no exception. In this post-recession era, what are the best careers for college graduates to pursue? Which employment sectors present the best opportunities for 2011 college graduates in search of their first real job?
Automotive rental and leasing
Companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz continue to expand. Each has plans to hire thousands of new employees in 2011, many of them entry-level positions best suited for recent college graduates. For students with degrees in business or marketing, these companies can offer valuable experience and opportunities for advancement. They offer college graduates stability, benefits, and a chance to gain management experience relatively quickly. With multiple locations, these firms can often be a source for jobs in almost any city where a 2011 college graduate wants to live.
The major accounting firms – like KPMG, Ernst & Young or PricewaterhouseCoopers – traditionally recruit talented college graduates with accounting degrees straight off their respective campuses. Each of the firms will typically add as many as 2000 new employees each year. In 2011, a rebounding economy could mean even more openings for college graduates in finance-related companies, and these firms may be the best places to start.
Last year, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, Verizon reported plans to add more than 10,000 new employees – the best of any company surveyed. Growth will continue in 2011 at companies like Verizon, AT&T and cable companies such as Comcast and Tim Warner Cable. The explosion of new technology, especially in mobile, will create opportunities for college graduates in technical areas such as engineering. But entry-level jobs will also be created in areas such as marketing, sales and creative categories related to content creation.
Aerospace and defense
Some of the highest-paying job available to 2011 college graduates will be in defense industry companies. Huge multinational corporations such as GE, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are among the top 15 companies in expected job growth for this year, according to the Department of Labor figures. Highly technical positions in engineering offer the best chance for high salary potential, even for newly-minted college graduates.
More and more college graduates are choosing to spend some of the early years of their careers with organizations such as the Peace Corps or Teach for America. These types of career choices offer valuable experience, if low pay. But they also appeal to the socially conscious college graduates as one of the best means of giving back and making a difference in people’s lives. Both of those two programs appear among the top five companies and organizations with the most planned job openings in 2011.
Not all 2011 college graduates will be lucky enough to find their dream jobs in their chosen careers right away. But it is important to begin a career with a job – any job – rather than wait too long for an exact match. Retail companies with hundreds of locations across the country – think Target, Kohl’s or Macy’s – may require long hours, weekends and holidays. But they also offer paychecks, perhaps benefits, and some college graduates’ best chance to gain valuable experience while paying the bills.